Healthy Advice During Flu Season: Wash Your Hands

With cold and flu season in the air, it’s time to keep in mind that hand-washing is a very powerful weapon against the spread of infection.


Judy Hagerty, RN, MS, CIC, Infection Preventionist at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, recommends old-fashioned hand-washing in fighting the spread of colds, flu and bacterial infections. This simple advice is the centerpiece to avoiding the spread of germs and infections.


“There is nothing more effective in reducing the spread of germs than good hand hygiene,” Hagerty said. “Flu season is an excellent time to refresh everyone’s memories on the basics of hygiene.”


Alcohol-based hand gel is just as effective as handwashing at removing germs from hands. It is commercially available as liquid, wipes, or towelettes, and comes in small travel sizes that are perfect for keeping in your book bag, car, locker, purse, or sports bag.

In hospitals, more stringent infection control measures are taken. At

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred for routine hand decontamination. Hand sanitizer is available in every patient room  and in most hallways– this product kills 99.99% of the most common germs in as little as 20 seconds.


The Infection Control Team at Henry Mayo conducted research on the incidence of infection among patients, and began a number of initiatives to reduce the numbers. As a result, there has been a steady decline in some types of infections. For more information, please call (661) 200-1309.


Tips on Preventing Spread of Infection:

Correct way to wash your hands at home, school or place of business:

•Use warm water (not hot or cold). 

•Use any kind of soap. 

•Rub your hands together vigorously and scrub all surfaces for 20 seconds.  

•Rinse well under warm running water and pat dry with a clean towel. 

•In public restrooms, use a paper towel to flush the toilet and to open the door because handles canharbor germs. 

Correct use of alcohol-based hand gel:

  • Apply product (approximately dime-sized amount) to palm of one hand
  • Rub hands together, covering all surfaces of hands and fingers, until hands

  are dry. If correct amount is applied, hands should be dry in 20 seconds

  • Do not rinse

Note: When there is visible soiling of hands, they should first be washed

with soap and water before using waterless hand gels.